“Let’s see how many people think we’re satanists today.”
Religious anthropology major, Michael David sets up his cauldron, witchcraft book, and various statues at a table in Falcon Square as he looks to spread the word about Wiccan Club.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding mostly because every time anyone sees a five pointed star they automatically assume that you are a devil worshipper.
“What they don’t know is that it really just stems from the time Roman Catholic church took a lot of power. Everybody that wasn’t Catholic was demonized,” he said.
David explained that this belief is why a lot of polytheistic religions went underground.
“There’s different parts of the religion. There is prayer, […] mediation, […] spell casting, and the magic and stuff is sort of like really intense prayer.”
David created the Wiccan Club after he received his honorable discharge from the Coast Guard this past December and started school again.
“When I first got here I noticed there was a lot of Christian representation and a little bit of Hindu representation and I just felt like there wasn’t a lot of variety.
“I feel that, especially when it comes to spirituality, people don’t do a lot of self exploration and instead are raised with certain points of view under certain philosophies and they just roll with that their whole life.”
He added, “I think it is really important to embrace all religions, all spiritualities.”
David decided that Wicca needed some representation on campus and also realized this would be an opportunity to meet with other Wiccans on campus.
“We live in a multicultural society, you can’t believe that your one culture is the best, so I felt that we needed representation for other faiths as well and I’m Wiccan and I spent a lot of time practicing by myself, I didn’t know other Wiccans.”
Through this he met Kevin Nakamura, who studies various religions.
“I like to keep an open mind. Right now this is my time to spend with Wicca, I’ll have time to spend with several other religions as well,” Nakamura said.
“[…]Wicca is very diverse, letting people follow what they want to follow, there are no guidelines or rules connecting that, or push back like ‘if you do not follow you cannot do this.’”
Nakamura added, “I think it is good that they are keeping an open mind, it is more of how you are spiritually instead of how you are to other people, it is about how you are finding who you are within yourself.”
At their Thursday meetings, David and Nakamura sat at their club table in Falcon Square, where sometimes they would be met with stares and the occasional protester.
David said, “People would walk by my table and take pictures and just stare like whispering to each other as they kept walking. It is mostly that […] rumor that the original Catholic Church sort of set around, that long lasting reputation that we’re trying to get rid of.”
Nakamura recounted how one day a seemingly interested man turned out to be a dissenter.
“We had the booth out, and there was a man who was fully interested in what we had going […] and so he was standing there next to us for 20-30 minutes listening to [David] and then it went downhill from there cause once he stopped talking he was like ‘you know what you’re doing is wrong right?’”
Both Nakamura and David were taken aback by the sudden turn of events.
“It’s because people are so close minded they wont be able to see anything past things they have heard,” Nakamura added.
David expressed how in a different instance, their beliefs were compared to drug use.
“He said ‘I did some drugs and stuff’ and I was like ‘how are you comparing your drug use to our spiritual beliefs?’ That is completely disrespectful.”
Wicca Club’s Mission
David noted that club meetings consists of discussing their spiritual experiences.
“Whenever we meet, what we usually do is discuss any type of spiritual experiences that we’ve had […] I stress meditation a lot, writing down your dreams, and if you have any experiences that you would deem to be supernatural […] then we could talk about it.”
He added, “We’re just a religion just like any other, […] I don’t really care to convert people or anything like that. I just want people to know we are another religion and that we live in a society with different cultures.”